Frequent followers will remember that I am still in training for my job as a child welfare specialist with DHS. In a post a few weeks ago, I talked about how the training is somewhat depressing. At the least, it is the opposite of encouraging. I sit from 9-4:30, M-F, listening to stories of how crappy parents are, how crappy judges are, how horrible we are at our jobs, how many mistakes we will make, and how hopeless situations can be. I appreciate the reality check, however, is it necessary to hammer me with it for 5 weeks? (I guess the answer is probably. That way I figure out if I am cut out for this or not.)
Each day I sit through the lectures, I have an inner struggle of believing in myself. This job is full of opportunities. Opportunities to go crazy. To lose it. To ruin families. And to change lives. Make an impact. Be a role model. Be a teacher. Prove that there is hope for humanity. One minute I have no doubt I am meant to do this job. I know I can do and do it really well. The next minute, I am completely doubting myself and wondering if I should quit now and be a miserable secretary or discontented babysitter. Most days I think this is just a sign that I'm dealing with the fact that I have to be an adult and do a grown up job that makes no money and potentially reaps no rewards.
I have 7 days of training left. After that I am thrown into the world of a caseload and immediately start making decisions that affect the lives of children and families. I will have to be completely objective and leave my values and beliefs in the car as I walk up to a house where I will be greeted with distrust and confrontation. What a great challenge my job will be.
Okay, now that you too are depressed about my job, let's talk about a movie you need to see.
"The Kingdom." Some friends and I saw it last night. I wanted to see it because it looked like 24 meets Crash meets shoot-em-up. It looked intense, but not so much that I couldn't handle it. (I'm a wuss.) Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman are the FBI heroes that go to Saudi Arabia to help investigate terrorist attacks on American oil company workers and their families. It shows the deep roots and intensity of a Muslim culture. It shows how respecting a culture different than your own is beneficial when on their turf. It shows that not everyone in a labeled "bad guys" culture is bad. The team ends up working with and befriending a Saudi colonel. Anyway, the movie was heavy for me because it showed what life in like when your country is at war, whether it's within your country or with one across the ocean that has it's people in your country. I refuse to say at this point in my opinion, "I realized how lucky I am" or how "grateful I am to live in America." Instead, I sat there trying not to throw up and my heart breaking for a world that lives in a reality where war is even a possibility or a way of life. I cried knowing that the dream for the world is not to be at odds with each other and with an intensity that involves incredible violence. I cried because I know I participate in unconscious ways that perpetuate wars, whether it's between friends, countries, or the self.
I will admit I left the theater feeling unsafe and thinking about how paralyzing the mere threat of violence is. The national threat level is currently at "Elevated." While we continue to live our lives as "normal," I can't help but let my mind wander to the future when the reality will no longer be a threat, but will be in the streets outside my door. That may be days, months, years, decades. My hope for peace has to outweigh my fear of war or violence or whatever. I hope that I will now be more aware of ways I can participate and perpetuate peace instead of war.
That is also a huge responsibility.